Most Common 20 Cyber Security Interview Questions to Help You Succeed at Interview
In the modern world where data is gold, threats are ever increasing that could compromise or damage the data that we own. Cyber security aims at protecting the cyber space from threats that could jeopardise our infrastructures and cause business impact. As more companies are using information technology to bolster their businesses, security professionals are in high demand. If you are looking to succeed in this arena, the following guidance on the most common cyber security interview questions you may face will help you.
According to Frost and Sullivan’s latest Global Workforce Survey shortage of security professionals in 2020 is 1.5 million. According to this report by Kaspersky drastic measures are required to fill the cyber security skills gap.
Growth in Demand
Burning Glass found the number of cyber security job posted have increased by 94% in the past six years. The number of general IT jobs by comparison have only increased by 30%. Demand for cyber security talent has grown at three times the rate of the overall IT job market accounting for 13% of all information technology jobs advertised.
If your are looking for a new role in cybersecurity, or moving to this field, then the following common cyber security interview questions and guidance will help you secure your next career move.
Question 1. What’s the difference between symmetric and public-key cryptography?
Job Positions: GRC Consultant, SOC Analyst, Cloud Security Architect, Data Protection Officer
Guidance: You should have an understanding of cryptography to explain this concept. Your concepts about the different cryptographic algorithms such as AES, DES, RSA & ECC should be clear. Take your time in learning the advantages and disadvantages of each type, as these could form the follow-up questions.
Question 2. In public-key cryptography, you have a public and a private key, and you often perform both encryption and signing functions. Which key is used for which function?
Job Positions: Penetration Tester, Data Protection Officer, Security Program Manager, PKI Consultant, Network Security Engineer, IT Auditor
Guidance: Understanding the difference between symmetric and asymmetric cryptography is critical for any one working in cyber security field. Public key cryptography being more complex offer more challenges. Grasp the concepts of different kind of keys as this is the key to your next dream job
Question 3. What’s the difference between encoding, encryption, and hashing?
Job Positions: Security Program Manager, Backup Expert, Security Analyst, Security Engineer
Guidance: The application of various security concepts in real world scenarios can really help you ace the interview. Topis that explain CIA triad forms the basis of your knowledge in cyber security.
Question 4. What are your favourite security assessment tools? And Why?
Job Positions: Penetration Tester, SOC Analyst, Cloud Security Architect, Network Security Engineer, Application Security Expert
Guidance: In cyber security there are a plethora of tools for various purposes. This question will judge your expertise to use the tool depending on the scenario. It also ensures that you are not dependent on tools to get job done.
Question 5. What are the various ways to handle account brute forcing?
Job Positions: SOC Analyst, Application Security Expert, Network Security Engineer, Senior Consultant Cyber Security, Penetration Tester
Guidance: A very simple question that will show your understanding of account management and passwords. A key concept of authentication, make sure to have a comprehensive understanding of password security.
Question 6. What is Cross-Site Request Forgery?
Job Positions: Penetration Tester, SOC Analyst, Cloud Security Architect, Data Protection Officer, Web Security Expert, Application Security Engineer.
Guidance: CSRF is mostly concerned with securing web applications and is one of the top threats. Take your time to understand the top threats to web applications and which controls to use. OWASP top 10 can be a good starting point.
Question 7. What is the difference between stored and reflected XSS?
Job Positions: Penetration Tester, SOC Analyst, Cloud Security Architect, Security Consultant, Web Security Expert, Application Security Engineer
Guidance: A technical question that is mostly asked to professionals who are ethical hackers and can exploit XSS vulnerabilities. It is highly recommended to understand the why and how of threats to be confident about common cyber security issues.
Question 8. What’s the difference between a threat, vulnerability, and a risk?
Job Positions: GRC Consultant, SOC Analyst, Cloud Security Architect, Information Security Officer, Risk Analyst, Cyber Security Risk Manager
Guidance: Try to answer this question by linking the concepts of threat, vulnerabilities and how it combines to create risks for assets. While answering don’t just rely on definitions.
Question 9. What is salting, and why is it used?
Job Positions: GRC Consultant, Risk Analyst, Cyber Security Risk Manager, Cloud Security Architect, Data Protection Officer, Database Security Expert
Guidance: Salting is used in hashing to store passwords. Whether you are an experienced professional or entering the realm of cyber security, make sure to have an idea about password protection mechanisms.
Question 10. Please provide one challenge you encounter while implementing controls for people, process and technology?
Job Positions: GRC Consultant, Senior Consultant Cyber Security, Cloud Security Architect, Data Protection Officer, Information Security Program Manager
Guidance: Before going for an interview always create such scenarios that could elaborate your problem solving and analytical skills. This question is often asked for consultancy jobs including big4 firms.
Question 11. What are some of the best practices to secure servers?
Job Positions: System Security Specialist, SOC Analyst, Windows Security Expert, Information Security Consultant, Penetration Tester
Guidance: Try to answer this question starting from high risk areas, such as no antivirus, weak access control, shared passwords etc.
Question 12. How cybersecurity is different in Cloud as compared to on-premises?
Job Positions: GRC Consultant, SOC Analyst, Cloud Security Architect, Data Protection Officer, Information Security Director, Data Privacy Officer
Guidance: As more companies are shifting to Cloud, the security concerns are also materializing. It’s important as a security professional that you understand the scope of risks and threats that target the data in the cloud.
Question 13. What are some of the risks introduced by a remote working environment?
Job Positions: GRC Consultant, SOC Analyst, Cloud Security Architect, Data Protection Officer, IAM Consultant
Guidance: In post COVID-19 era, remote working is a norm. The risks introduced by the remote working environment are unique and must be understood in detail. Security professionals must have the knowledge to secure the future.
Question 14. What type of control is audit logging?
Job Positions: Information Security Auditor, SOC Analyst, Cloud Security Architect, Data Protection Officer, SIEM Specialist, SPLUNK expert.
Guidance: Audit logging is a detective control that can be used to monitor various kind of activities. Advantages of audit logging and how to use them effectively for enhancing organisation resilience must be part of your knowledge base.
Question 15. What is SIEM?
Job Positions: GRC Consultant, SOC Analyst, Cloud Security Architect, Security Analyst, SOC Manager
Guidance: Security Incident and Event Management solutions are an essential part of cybersecurity posture. This is the starter question but your answer will reflect the depth of your knowledge.
Question 16. How can we protect ourselves from ransomware attacks?
Job Positions: Senior Security Consultant, VAPT Expert, SOC Analyst, Cloud Security Architect, Data Protection Officer
Guidance: Ransomware attacks are the most lethal attacks in terms of finances. Organisations continue to suffer in 2020 with growing ransomware threats. Understanding various types of ransomware and knowledge of the latest ransomware is critical for an outstanding performance in interviews.
Question 17. What is pivoting in cybersecurity?
Job Positions: Penetration Tester, SOC Analyst, Information Security Architect, Data Protection Officer, Cyber Security Consultant, Threat Intelligence Analyst
Guidance: As a defender of cyberspace, you should have an idea about the actions of threat vectors and how hackers gradually take over the infrastructures. Threat hunting and threat intelligence is an interesting topic and you should have an idea about common terms. MITRE ATTACK framework can provide excellent guidance.
Question 18. What is the difference between segregation of duties and least privilege?
Job Positions: Security Consultant, Information Security Project manager, IAM Consultant, Data Protection Analyst
Guidance: Understanding cybersecurity controls for people is very important. SoD and least privilege form the basis of access management.
Question 19. How can you differentiate the results of vulnerability assessment and penetration testing reports?
Job Positions: Penetration tester, SOC Analyst, Senior Consultant Cyber Security, Chief Information Security Officer
Guidance: Objectives achieved by vulnerability assessment and penetration testing are different and unique. If you are able to answer this question correctly, it will show your expertise in extracting useful results from VAPT.
Question 20. How you can protect data in the cloud?
Job Positions: Data Privacy Consultant, SOC Analyst, Cloud Security Architect, Data Protection Officer, CISO
Guidance: Cloud environment offers unique challenges to data protection and privacy. Limitations are also defined by regulations and cyber security standards. Understanding the cloud landscape will benefit you and will make you ready for the huge future market of cloud security experts.
To speak to a consultant about your next cyber security opportunity or to help resource cyber talent please visit our Cyber Security page.